‘Live in the moment,’ John consoled himself mentally. ‘Just live in the moment and this too shall pass.’
The moment consisted of yet another angelic-looking sprite plopping herself on his lap and frowning at him before asking, “Santa, what happened to your nose?”
It was almost the end of a very long day, so he had learned by this time not to joke that one of the reindeers had kicked him. That explanation either elicited great enthusiasm regarding the identity of the reindeer and what Santa had done in retaliation, or distress that any of Santa’s reindeers could have been so mean. An accident in the toyshop or bumping his nose on chimneys had proved to generate equally enthusiastic but not always positive responses.
“Santa got a little frisky with Mrs. Santa and she hit him with a frying pan,” he said jovially, adding the obligatory Ho-Ho-Ho.
That explanation at least distracted the children into trying to decide to ask first what ‘frisky’ meant or what a frying pan was. Mentally blessing microwaves, John continued cheerfully, “So have you been a good girl?”
“Oh yes Santa!”
“And what do you want for Christmas?”
As always, that question prompted a long list of bizarre and sometimes alarming-sounding toys, making John very glad that his niece and nephew had already hit their teens. Gift certificates to Best Buy or Virgin Records were so easy to purchase.
The obligatory picture was taken, John smiling happily, making sure his eyes did not reflect his tiredness, and the sprite danced off holding her mother’s hand. He leaned his head back, letting the red velvet chair cushion its weight, and waited for the next angel or monster.
“You look exhausted,” an amused voice said. “You’ll be relieved to know that was the last one.”
Opening his eyes, John saw the photographer had almost finished packing up her gear and that the elf helper was striding toward him. Glimpses of the elf – the man – had been the best part of his day pinch-hitting for a suddenly ill Santa. Dressed in a long green suede tunic that came to his upper thighs, a green belt that accentuated his narrow waist, green tights that clung to well-muscled legs, and green shoes with pointy toes, the elf was a refreshingly sexy sight among the hordes of noisy children.
“I am,” John admitted. “I hadn’t realized that sitting down all day could be so tiring.”
“You were great with the kids.”
“Thank you. I tried.”
The photographer waved good-bye and left, cradling her camera and tripod, and John and the elf were silent as she walked away. The mall was clearing out too, the background noise of the zoo of harried shoppers dying as lights extinguished and steel doors were rolled down, closing shops. John felt no inclination to leave however, interested in seeing where this conversation would lead.
“So Santa,” the elf said as he slinked up the stairs toward Santa’s throne, “do you have time for one more?”
“I think I can handle your wishes,” John responded, as he found his lap full of handsome elf, those delicious legs slipping between his own. “Have you been a good boy?”
“Oh yes, Santa, I’ve been a very good boy.”
“Oh yes, Santa, all year.”
The elf’s expression was somehow both mischievous and sweet, his smiling eyes reflecting the color of his clothes, looking very green and fresh, the corners of his mouth turning up in a smile, and the little cleft in his chin fairly begging to be kissed.
“And what do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?” John cradled his arms around the elf, daring to hold him much closer than he’d held any of the children. The lithe body conformed to his, finding a comfortable position to lie on his long body, as the honey blond head came to rest on his shoulder.
“I’ve been so good, that I think Santa should bring himself for Christmas.”
“That would be very good indeed, to deserve such a big present.”
“And then I think Santa should…” And the elf brought his lips very close to John’s ear and whispered a suggestion, a very naughty, decadent one. Very naughty indeed. And very, very tempting.
John had to clear his voice before he could speak. “I think Santa might be able to arrange that. And then…” He turned his face so his lips were next to the elf’s ear, and whispered a very naughty, very erotic idea of his own.
“Oh SANTA! That would be such a reward for all my goodness.”
Their lips met in a kiss, their first kiss, and John thought the elf’s lips tasted like all the best of Christmas. Bright green holly, presents in pretty wrapping with sparkling bows, shiny ornaments, and the scent of evergreen and baking gingerbread, all overlaid with a very adult masculinity and a promise of the delights to be found between flannel sheets after everyone had gone to sleep, leaving the night still and quiet. He felt his toes curling in his big black boots until he was sure they matched the points of the elf’s shoes.
“Momma, why is Santa Claus kissing an elf?”
The childish voice jerked them apart, the elf stumbling off Santa’s lap, John springing up with a hearty, “Ho-Ho-Ho! I was thanking him for all his hard work! Santa loves his elves!”
Fortunately, the mother looked amused as she kneeled down next to her son. “Just like momma gives you a kiss when you’re good.” She gave her son a big pucker on his cheek, took his hand and tugged him away, throwing a “Merry Christmas,” behind her.
The elf had turned away from the exchange, and John placed a hand on his shoulder, concerned. “Are you okay?”
“I will be. Give me a sec.”
“Oh,” John said, understanding his problem, feeling a little embarrassed and proud.
“I’ve been watching you all day, you know. It’s rather caught up to me.”
“Oh,” John repeated, belatedly realizing that he was still in full costume, and whipping off his Santa hat with its attached white curls, and the combined beard and mustache. He smoothed his hair down, conscious that it probably looked dreadful, but relieved that he hadn’t skipped shaving this morning.
The elf turned to face him, and from his smile, he wasn’t distressed about the state of John’s hat hair. “As good as I thought.”
“Thank you,” John smiled goofily, conscious that his answering grin was too broad and his eyes were crinkling.
“I think we should take this somewhere else, don’t you?” The elf pulled a slip of paper from the pouch on his costume’s belt, and held it out to John. “My address.”
“I’ll be there.”
“Don’t make me wait long. I’m ready for my reward for all my good behavior.” With that exit line, the elf swaggered off. John admired the sway of slim hips and the flexing of tight buttocks moving under green suede as the elf walked away, until one of the mall’s huge Christmas trees blocked his view.
Unfolding the slip, he found a name, ‘Benjamin MacMichael,’ an address and a little map, leading to a house perhaps only ten minutes away from the mall. He tucked the slip into his belt and headed toward another mall exit, the one closest to his own car, thinking about the pleasing and surprising ending to a very long day.
Oh yes, live in the moment, that was his motto, and he lived by his motto. He was going to enjoy the next ten minutes of anticipation very much, and then he was going to enjoy the moments after that even more. Each and every single blessed one of them.
~ the end ~
Merry Christmas Everyone!